New Zealand’s geography has created an isolated and lengthy electricity network made up of two island-contained power networks, connected by a 400km-long HVDC link. Virtually every New Zealand household and business can connect to this national electricity grid.
The unique combination of intermittent renewables and the long, multi-spurred network makes New Zealand’s electricity system highly relevant to developing and middle-income countries. New Zealand has leading capability to operate electrically ‘weak’ grids with state- of-the-art equipment designed for larger, meshed-grid systems. This is particularly useful for developing countries seeking to integrate renewable electricity sources. Geographical location and weather patterns also mean that resilience for floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions is integrated into all aspects of generation and supply.
Over the last 20 years, New Zealand has evolved from a highly regulated, state-controlled model to one that sees competition in generation, supply and retailing. It also operates one of the world’s most efficient marginal-pricing wholesale electricity markets.
Specific energy capability offered by New Zealand includes:
- operation and optimisation of high voltage direct-current links
- hydro power design, maintenance and optimisation
- dam engineering, safety and instrumentation
- design, operation and maintenance of some of the most productive wind farms in the world
- effective environmental management
- education and training
- innovative online trading platforms – both wholesale and retail – that have helped transform relationships between consumers and power companies
- geothermal exploration, development and sustainable development.
New Zealand expertise has been used to design, build and maintain some of the world’s most innovative power schemes, including those in Indonesia, South America and Europe. Its capability around renewable generation, resilient supply and advanced retailing has benefitted developing countries seeking to future-proof their energy resource.